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Old 10-07-2010   #26
reubelim
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My F3HP press edition's serial no. is P9022381. Any idea when it was made? Recently got it 2nd hand, but it looks virtually unused. It shares slr duty with an FE2, 2 F4s, and a brace of Canon A1s.

It really is a lovely camera, especially with the MD4 attached.
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Old 10-07-2010   #27
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Originally Posted by JayGannon View Post
I love my F3 (Non HP) but have been told I should try the HP viewfinder as I wear glasses, what does RFF think.
Jay,

I also wear glasses, and I have both HP and non HP finders. The non HP finder besides having a lower profile also has a higher magnification. For critical focus, especially notacible under dim lighting conditions the non HP finder offers higher contrast for more acurate focusing. This is why I use the non HP finder with my 58/1.2 Noct-Nikkor. For low light/ shallow DOF work you have the best finder IMHO.

The HP finder is kinda like when you project slides from a further distance; the image is projected larger, but the contrast and colors become diluted and slightly more washed out.

On my third F3 I use a DA-2 Action Finder. With the huge image in the viewfinder the focus becomes vauge; but since I have a 24/2.0 AIS permanently mounted, and I scale focus, this camera, even though its a SLR is used like a point and shoot. I call this rig my "Street Machine." Here in NYC. I have no problem getting close to my subject because of all the crowding.

I use to also own two F2AS's that were great examples of a savagely overbuilt all mechanical cameras. The body alone weighed about as much as a F3 with motordrive WITHOUT BATTERIES. I loved the highly sensitive LED metering, but the mirror slap, shutter release that required a firm push, and the need for service led me to sell the F2AS's. IMHO the F3's have a smoother shutter, smoother film advance, lighter shutter release, and overall better durability. I chose not to pay to get them serviced and decided to move on.

Also because the metering is in the body in a F3 the viewfinder is brighter in a F3 non HP than a F2 (Magnification is the same in these two finders). This is another reason I sold my two F2AS's.

I'm thinking of getting another F3 body with MD-4 because they are so inexpensive. I will have it modified so that the light switch is always closed to be used for shooting exclusively at night. The severe battery drain is not an issue because power is supplied by the MD-4. This will intergrate nicely with the current activation of the meter with the shutter release.

Cal
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Old 10-07-2010   #28
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Originally Posted by reubelim View Post
My F3HP press edition's serial no. is P9022381. Any idea when it was made? Recently got it 2nd hand, but it looks virtually unused. It shares slr duty with an FE2, 2 F4s, and a brace of Canon A1s.

It really is a lovely camera, especially with the MD4 attached.
Check the CameraQuest link. Stephen has an article on the F3P. As I remember F3P's were only available for about 5 years and initially for the first three years or so F3P's were only available to pro's with Press Credentials.

Moose Peterson's book "The Nikon System" can give you an accurate date of manufacture. Prices on F3P's are all over the place. Currently B&H has one for around $600.00, but minty collectable ones go for thousands.

My F3P is nicely brassed, but not hammered. Very aggressive and tough looking. Funny thing is that in NYC over the years I've seen very few F3's on the street, although when I did see them it was generally one photographer carrying two F3's. Haven't seen anyone else but me carry either one or two F3's with motordrives. Its not a subtle camera and is not descrete like a Leica.

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Old 10-07-2010   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
Check the CameraQuest link. Stephen has an article on the F3P. As I remember F3P's were only available for about 5 years and initially for the first three years or so F3P's were only available to pro's with Press Credentials.

Moose Peterson's book "The Nikon System" can give you an accurate date of manufacture. Prices on F3P's are all over the place. Currently B&H has one for around $600.00, but minty collectable ones go for thousands.

My F3P is nicely brassed, but not hammered. Very aggressive and tough looking. Funny thing is that in NYC over the years I've seen very few F3's on the street, although when I did see them it was generally one photographer carrying two F3's. Haven't seen anyone else but me carry either one or two F3's with motordrives. Its not a subtle camera and is not descrete like a Leica.

Cal
Wow, I didn't know the press editions were so dear! Mine came with the MD4 and the film-leader-out back. It really looks virtually unused save for a tiny dent in the memo holder. Got it for a song. Actually, even, for just a stanza...
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Old 10-07-2010   #30
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F3 rocks.

A lot of FM2s and FEs came and gone through trading, but I hung on to one F3. Beat up, but working flawlessly, just the way I like it.

It shares lenses with the Fuji S3 that I got for cheap:

Nikon AF 24/2.8
Leica Telyt 200mm + Adapter
Ai'd Nikkor-S and Nikkor-Q

And when I want attendees to know that I'm covering the event, I just switch on the "Battleaxe-mode" :

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Old 10-07-2010   #31
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And when I want attendees to know that I'm covering the event, I just switch on the "Battleaxe-mode" :

Clearly a deadly weapon that commands attention, especially with a hand strap I rigged together with a modded AH-2 tripod base plate.

Its a camera... its a blackjack... its a pair of brass knuckles...

Also loud and obnoxious in a very New York kinda way. LOL.

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Old 10-07-2010   #32
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Oh guys, you crack me up!
Cal, you really mouth watered the F3 to me!

A nice, black FM3a has brought me to film a bit over a year ago - I never liked the tiny viewfinder much, especially after having to revert to left eye shooting with fast glass.
I like the MD12 though, when being loud is not an issue.

I like, to use the Leicas a lot better, but now, that I got that Noct and it is so much easier to focus on a MF film body, I lust after a few F3s in different outfits - IS THAT NORMAL - lust after a few of the same bodies?

The bad thing is, they go a lot more expensive here in Shanghai and do not particularly look very trustful, half beaten up for high prices.

@ Will, love that "Battleaxe" of yours ;-)
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Old 10-07-2010   #33
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Oh guys, you crack me up!
Cal, you really mouth watered the F3 to me!

A nice, black FM3a has brought me to film a bit over a year ago - I never liked the tiny viewfinder much, especially after having to revert to left eye shooting with fast glass.
I like the MD12 though, when being loud is not an issue.

I like, to use the Leicas a lot better, but now, that I got that Noct and it is so much easier to focus on a MF film body, I lust after a few F3s in different outfits - IS THAT NORMAL - lust after a few of the same bodies?

The bad thing is, they go a lot more expensive here in Shanghai and do not particularly look very trustful, half beaten up for high prices.

@ Will, love that "Battleaxe" of yours ;-)
Dirk,

Come to New York and load up the truck with F3's. $185.00- $200 will get you a clean one at B&H or Adorama, and they have a huge selection. For about $240.00 get one with a MD-4 motordrive. Very handy for a left eyed shooter like yourself. I'm thinking of getting two more bodies so that I won't have to ever change lenses. How spoiled and entitled is that? LOL.

BTW I figured out a name for my F3 non HP Noct-Nikkor rig. I now will call it my Subway Rig. I've been shooting HP5 shot at 320 wide open. The shots happen so fast that I know the people around me know I took a picture, but they wonder what I shot. The prelude to shooting is metering off the back of my hand, but generally I'm always ready for a shot.

It takes a certain personality to get away with what I do. I've never been challenged or confronted BTW.

I find the MD-4 steadys the camera and negates any mirror slap. I favor the HR-2 rubber hood for the Noct-Nikkor- looks awesome.

Your other thread with your Noctilux also has me shooting Pan F at 50 wide open. The back that leaves the leader out comes in handy BTW when shooting partially exposed rolls of film. Highly recomended.

Cal
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Last edited by Calzone : 10-07-2010 at 11:21. Reason: typo
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Old 10-07-2010   #34
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About two years ago I bought a F3HP and a 2nd FM2 to complement my existing FM2. The plan was to try the F3HP and see how I liked it, and to pair the 2nd FM2 with the one I bought back in '86. My wife claimed the 2nd FM2 as soon as it came in.

I love the feel of the F3HP. Mine looks like it has been through a warzone, but it works like a champ. It is amazingly smooth compared to my FM2. Having said that, I tend to prefer the FM2 for two reasons, one is the size, and the other is I prefer the LED meter readout. I don't care for the LCD in the F3.

I figured I'd pretty much retire my FM2 and F3 once I got the Leica M6 TTL, but this last weekend I was out shooting with the F3HP as it seemed the better fit for what I was doing. While it is a MF camera, I use a lot of AF lenses on it, but do have a MF 50mm f/1.4 and a 135mm f/2.8 from the early 60's that has been AI'd. Later today I plan to pick up two of the rolls of Velvia 50 I shot on Sunday with the camera, and I can't wait to see the results, as it was my first time shooting with a 24mm lens.

If I were to find one for the right price, I would pick up a FE2 or FM3a. I'd also like to eventually add a different finder to the F3 for Macro work.
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Old 10-07-2010   #35
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I tend to prefer the FM2 for two reasons, one is the size, and the other is I prefer the LED meter readout. I don't care for the LCD in the F3.
I loved the meter on a Nikon F2AS (LED) which is kinda unbeatable are far as sensitivity is concerned. Another bonus of the F2AS meter is that the shutter speeds are infinately variable where as in the F3 they are not unless in auto mode, but the metering pattern is only 60% center weighted on the F2 vs. the 80% center weighting on the F3.

The light to view the LCD display under dim lighting conditions has very bad ergonomics, but a work around is to have the swithch shorted by a repaiman so that the light comes on anytime the meter is activated. Do this only on a F3 that has a dedicated MD-4 because the battery drain otherwise is too severe.

I figure F3 bodies are so inexpensive that I am considering getting a fourth one to do the above modification as my "Night Stalker."

Cal
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Old 10-07-2010   #36
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I prefer my Leica or my FM2 for low-light photography, so the LCD light isn't a huge issue for me. Besides I quite honestly wouldn't want to have to use the motor drive on the F3.
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Old 10-07-2010   #37
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The light to view the LCD display under dim lighting conditions has very bad ergonomics,
The entire LCD is the weak point in the F3 ergonomics - the more so compared to its predecessors (dual match needle on the FE, mechanical time display plus LED or match needle on FM, F2) which conveyed the same information in a far neater, more reliable and legible way. The LCD got used in a more sensible way in the F4, but even there it still is somewhat cryptic and the Achilles heel of the camera.

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Old 10-07-2010   #38
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http://cgi.ebay.com/Nikon-F3-Body-On...item27b592b442

Ships to US only, otherwise I'd have 4 F3's. $80 wow. No connection etc.


edit: hey, somehow the BIN price jsut changed to $100. Still...
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Old 10-07-2010   #39
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I've had my F3HP since I bought it new in 1986. It's a fantastic camera, even with the dookie meter display and everything. Speaking of the meter, it does a fantastic job with really, really long exposures. Set it on "A" and even with transparencies I was confident the shot would be good.

Here's mine, with my usual lens (28mm) of the last twenty years or so:
Nikon F3 And 28mm f/2.8 Nikkor Lens, January, 2010 by Maggie Osterberg, on Flickr

In action with the 105:
Maggie, Lincoln, Nebraska, May 11, 2010 by Michael Berch, on Flickr
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Old 10-07-2010   #40
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That went quick, good price for all the parts.

B2 (;->
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Old 10-07-2010   #41
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Well, I haven't had one in a long time...this was the last time anyone saw me with one:


Me and motorized F3 (still have that Slik 505!), waitin' on a train, Waverly, Va., July 1983


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Old 10-07-2010   #42
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First thing I did was replace the prism with the DE-2 (non-HP)
Yup.
If I were to ever get another F3, I'd go for one with a DE-2 prism for the smaller size (the higher magnification is nice too). To my eyes, the HP prism is too large for the F3 body. Looks odd. Damn fine camera though.
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Old 10-07-2010   #43
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Yup.
If I were to ever get another F3, I'd go for one with a DE-2 prism for the smaller size (the higher magnification is nice too). To my eyes, the HP prism is too large for the F3 body. Looks odd. Damn fine camera though.
The HP prism might look a tad less "integrated" to the F3 body, but to my bespectacled eyes it was a godsend. First SLR whose VF I seriously got on with.


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Old 10-08-2010   #44
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BTW for all you guys that perfer non "Pro" Nikon bodies, realize that the VF on all the pro Nikon cameras display 100% of what will be on the negative. What you see is what you get.

I had a FM2, but I sold it because it only displayed 90% of what got exposed on the negative. What is the point of having a SLR if you are not seeing what you get?

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Old 10-08-2010   #45
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My F3HP press edition's serial no. is P9022381. Any idea when it was made? Recently got it 2nd hand, but it looks virtually unused. It shares slr duty with an FE2, 2 F4s, and a brace of Canon A1s.

It really is a lovely camera, especially with the MD4 attached.
My S/N on my F3P is P9002780. I'm thinking that my F3P is an early one that required press credentials to obtain.

Oddly your S/N seems very high for a limited production camera. Nikon must of skipped around a lot. I don't believe Nikon made over 22 thousand F3P's.

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Old 10-08-2010   #46
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Oddly your S/N seems very high for a limited production camera. Nikon must of skipped around a lot. I don't believe Nikon made over 22 thousand F3P's.
22,000 sounds about right to me. And its just a small percentage of the total number of F3 cameras that were manufactured. The Nikon website states that the total F3 sales volume from March 1982 to September 1992 exceeded 751,000 cameras, but of course that number doesn't include F3 cameras in the period from September 1992 to when the F3 was discontinued in 2000.
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Old 10-08-2010   #47
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22,000 sounds about right to me. And its just a small percentage of the total number of F3 cameras that were manufactured. The Nikon website states that the total F3 sales volume from March 1982 to September 1992 exceeded 751,000 cameras, but of course that number doesn't include F3 cameras in the period from September 1992 to when the F3 was discontinued in 2000.
Thanks for the information. I forgot that Nikon built many-many F3's.

Seems like I have a very early F3P and the other F3P on this thread is like a very late version.

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Old 10-08-2010   #48
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bought F3 ( non-hp ) a few years ago ... replace the focus screen from F4 .... should not because of loud shutter I would not be using RF camera for street photography

F3 acutally is stronger in construction / durable than M camera
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Old 10-08-2010   #49
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Of course you won't find much about the F3 here, its a rangefinder forum and it and it's buddies (nikon F) basically "killed" the idea o a rangefinder for most working pros. :-)
I like mine except for the dinky led button and odd flash shoe.
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Old 10-08-2010   #50
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As nice as the F3's are, I prefer my F and F2's. Must be an old school thing. IMHO these are the classic Nikons. My favorite is my black F with Ftn head, weighs a ton, clunky and brick like but feels like it will last forever. As far as meters go, the F2AS is great. I always find the paddle and needle meters in my others difficult in low light much like any other needle type. It was the main reason I sold my OM's and lenses.
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